Clearwater Cabins

Clearwater Cabins Project, Manitoba (Canada) 2016

University of Manitoba


Like many rural communities in North America, the town of Clearwater, Manitoba (population 68) has been steadily declining in population due to the impact of industrial farming practices. As a result of this depopulation, large numbers of abandoned community building pepper this rural prairie landscaper left in the wake of socio-industrial change. This project was conceived as a response to the realities facing numerous communities like this who are experiencing dramatic changes and seeking ways for how the past might help lead toward a more sustainable future. In a collaboration between the people of Clearwater and 27 undergraduate students from the Department of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, an abandoned century-old settlement house was deconstructed, down to its foundations, and the valuable old-growth lumber it was made of was saved and used to imagine how it might serve a new purpose for the town. From this material, three new eco-cabins were built to provide housing for the numerous visitors that come to this community each year for many public it puts on to learn about the unique small scale farming practices it has established as a counterpoint to the industrial model has survived.

Client: Carissa DeJong, Greg DeJong

Tutors: Associate Professor Lancelot Coar, Stephen Faust, Mick Maloney (Community), Robert Guilford (Community)

Students: Kara Burman, Markian Farkavec, Einat Menasche, Jordan Chapell, Stephen Faust, Sylwia Sieminska, Gordon Yiu, Emily Bews, Brooke Conrad, Taylor Gould, Lindsay Imlah, Talia Keyton, Kailey Kroeker, Zoé Lebel, Ye Lin, Devon Meyer, Candle Russell, Adéle Sinclair, Mackenzie Sinclair, Denis Vrignon-Tessier, Todd Willick, Wei Xue, Wei Zou, Luisa Munari, Efu Kekeli, Auja Ominski

Research Question: How can the perceived end of the lifecycle of buildings be reimagined to inspire a culturally and environmentally sustainable way of building and teaching architecture?

51-100, Architecture, Canada, Client-funded, Collaboration, Curricular, Manitoba Univ., Months, Permanent, Self-funded, Students with tutor, Undergraduate